Dealing with bad odours

The smell of your home can make a big difference to how quickly it sells and at what price. So, as well as making sure it’s tidy and presents well, don’t underestimate the scent.

I viewed a house recently where there was a damp smell in the basement. Straight away the buyer got suspicious and worried that it was a larger problem than the vendor’s claim of a blocked drain. However, our buyer was nervous it could be a deep rooted and expensive damp problem, which is often the case in basements. The smell of fresh paint can also cause alarm as suspicious buyers might think you’ve recently repainted to try and cover up low level damp patches or those from a leaking roof. If you’re going to repaint before putting the property on the market, try to allow time to air it out first.

You want to encourage buyers to feel at ease in the property and take their time to appreciate the space, and imagine themselves in there. The kitchen is a very important part of most property purchase decisions, and whilst it may sound obvious, make sure the bins have been taken out and there are no bad smells lurking from past sell-by date food in the fridge. Nine out of ten buyers will open the fridge door just to check the size and see what’s inside, so if you have leftovers from a few days ago, your potential buyer is going to exit the kitchen straight away, rather than take their time to appreciate this very important space.

If you have teenagers, make sure they’re up and about and a window has been opened. I recently showed a client a house rented out to five boys but due to the bad odours and musty smells we had to hold our breath in every room we entered, instantly turning her off the property!

Traditionally, sellers and estate agents swore by the smell of fresh coffee and baked bread. However, one house builder recently commissioned an aroma expert to create the perfect smell for its show homes and they came up with a blend of white tea and fig which the house builder liked so much, they now ensure that all of their show homes have this aroma. It’s the same with hotels when you walk in, if they smell amazing, you do tend to relax and enjoy being there. Apparently, when Anita Roddick opened her first Body Shop in Brighton, she would spray the doorway as that was one of the tactics she swore by to entice customers through the door.

So, when you’re selling your home, don’t forget about the other senses, ensuring it smells as good as it looks!

If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email or tweet her @joeccles.